AS Roma v Calcio Catania  - Serie A

Report: Bradley to Toronto done, set to earn $6.5 million per season after $7-$10 million transfer fee

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Within a matter of hours, Michael Bradley’s switch to Toronto FC has gone from Twitter sensation to verified move, with sources confirming to ESPN that the 26-year-old midfielder is on his way back to Major League Soccer. For a fee of between $7 and $10 million, the Reds are set to acquire the 82-time U.S. international from Italy’s AS Roma, with Bradley set to earn near-$6.5 million per season at BMO Field.

As with anything that hasn’t been officially announced, the exact numbers are still blurry. Reports have Bradley’s contract in Toronto as either a five- or six-year deal. While one source is telling ESPN that Roma will get $7 million to allow Bradley to return to MLS, league sources are saying Roma will get “in excess of $10 million” for a player they bought from Chievo in the summer of 2012.

[MORE: Michael Bradley-to-Toronto: Take a moment to suspend your whys, consider how far MLS has come]

Bradley’s reported salary would be a huge step up from the wages he garnered at Roma. Paid €800,000 after tax in Italy (roughly $1.1 million), the former Metro Stars midfielder would be making between five- and six-times more money to shift back to Major League Soccer. While they’ll certainly be questions about the motives of a 26-year-old midfielder swapping Serie A for Toronto FC, the pure financial motivation makes it difficult to argue with Bradley’s move.

One lingering question with the deal is who will pay the transfer fee, though if the Clint Dempsey example is any indication, Major League Soccer may have again broken out the checkbook. While it was initially assumed the Seattle Sounders had paid the price of Dempsey’s summer acquisition from Tottenham, reporting by Sports Illustrated later revealed the league had paid the former Spur’s transfer fee. As the 2013 season progressed, it was revealed other teams had benefitted from new policies allowing the league to pay part or all of certain players’ transfer fees.

One remaining snag for Toronto is their Designated Player situation. With the acquisition of Jermain Defoe, Toronto have used up their allotment of DP slots, with the former Spurs striker joining Matias Laba and Gilberto on the Reds’ books. Laba, an Argentine midfielder brought in under Kevin Payne, appears to be the on his way out, with Toronto looking for a  home for the 22-year-old former Argentinos Juniors midfielder. If he can’t be traded, Laba’s contract will have to be renegotiated (or, its salary cap hit paid down by allocation money) to make room for Bradley.

source: AP
Tim Leiweke, seen here at the announcement of the NBA’s 2015 All-Star Game in Toronto, has taken two steps toward reversing the exodus out of BMO Field. (Source: AP.)

It’s an unfortunate externality of the Bradley transaction, but with the former Heerenveen, Borussia Moenchengladbach, and Aston Villa midfielder returning to Major League Soccer for the first time since 2005, it’s a small price to play to add a marquee name. Bradley not only becomes a focal point in midfield for Ryan Nelsen’s team, but he also represents a huge acquisition for Tim Leiweke – the Maple Leafs Sports & Entertainment chief executive who is overseeing the revitalization of TFC.

Today, Leiweke’s taken two huge steps toward replicating the star power he accumulated in Los Angeles, where he served a similar, architect’s role. With the Galaxy, Leiweke was crucial to the acquisitions of David Beckham and Robbie Keane, and while Bradley and Defoe may not carry the same star power, their signings represent an instant credibility boost to a team that’s never made the playoffs.

[MORE: Defoe to Toronto FC official… and maybe Michael Bradley, too? (or “How Taylor Twellman broke Twitter”)]

That lack of success has translated into only 17 wins in the last three years, something that’s led to a major hit at BMO’s turnstiles. A team that regularly sold out their park over its first five years has seen a near-10 percent drop in attendance over the last two, with average crowds at Toronto games hitting an all-time low of 18,131 last season.

The acquisitions of Bradley and Defoe give Leiweke ammunition to reverse that trend. Not only has he given Toronto the type of talents they’ve never had in the franchise’s five-year history, but he’s also given supporters reason to halt the exodus from BMO Field.

US Open Cup wrap: NASL’s Fort Lauderdale upsets Orlando City

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Two non-MLS sides remained heading into the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup’s Round of 16, and both put big scares into their top tier opponents on Wednesday.

One of them won.

[ MORE: Klinsmann interested in England? ]

NASL side Fort Lauderdale looked set to go to penalty kicks with Orlando City SC after Jose Angulo and Kevin Molino traded goals in regulation, but former Corinthians midfielder Victor Pagliari Giro — or “PC” — scored in the 120th minute to send the Strikers to the quarterfinals.

The New York Cosmos put together a 2-1 lead on visiting New England, but the Revolution fired back to pick up a 3-2 win over their NASL hosts. Kei Kamara scored the equalizer and assisted on Teal Bunbury’s winner.

In MLS vs. MLS matches, Chris Pontius continued his fine first season in Philadelphia by keeping the Union’s hopes of a third-straight final alive during a 2-1 win over the New York Red Bulls.

[ MORE: Guzan off to Middlesbrough? ]

And Mauro Monatas ensured that there will be a new champion, scoring twice for the Houston Dynamo in a 3-1 win over Sporting KC.

Wednesday’s results
Houston Dynamo 3-1 Sporting KC
Philadelphia Union 2-1 New York Red Bulls
New York Cosmos 2-3 New England Revolution
Orlando City 1-2 (aet) Fort Lauderdale Strikers
FC Dallas vs. Colorado Rapids — ongoing (1-1)
Portland Timbers vs. L.A. Galaxy — 10:30 p.m. ET

Tuesday’s results
Chicago Fire
2-1 Columbus Crew
Real Salt Lake 1-1 (PKs, 1-4) Seattle Sounders

Quarterfinal schedule
Fort Lauderdale at Chicago Fire
Philadelphia Union at New England Revolution
FC Dallas/Colorado Rapids winner at Houston Dynamo
Seattle Sounders at Portland Timbers/L.A. Galaxy winner

Sky Sports claims England job is of interest to USMNT’s Klinsmann

LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 08:  Jurgen Klinsmann (C) and Chariman Daniel Levy (R) during the UEFA Europa League group J match between Tottenham Hotspur FC and NK Maribor at White Hart Lane on November 8, 2012 in London, England.  (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)
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Could the United States men’s national team lose its manager before a critical pair of World Cup qualifiers?

Jurgen Klinsmann, fresh off a semifinal appearance in the Copa America Centenario, has been linked with a move to England to coach the Three Lions following Roy Hodgson’s resignation.

[ MORE: England’s future in ruins

A Sky Sports report says, “Klinsmann is intrigued by the possibility of managing England, Sky sources understand.”

That’s a simple enough line, but worth noting. There aren’t too many projects more layered and intriguing than the USMNT, but England could be one of them. When you consider how far the nation has fallen and how it seems to be a matter confidence, Klinsmann may be capable of taking care of that.

Klinsmann played for Tottenham Hotspur between 2007-08, his lone connection to England. He lives in California and his son plays goalkeeper at Cal, so there are plenty of moving pieces.

Report: Manchester United set to pay $14 million for 14-year-old

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Call it the cost of doing business these days.

Manchester United could find itself ponying up $14 million in a bid to capture Turkish youngster Ferhat Cogalan.

[ MORE: Guzan off to Middlesbrough? ]

Currently with Valencia, Cogalan is scoring goals by the dozen and is a right-footed attacking player.

Here’s Cogalan’s father, from the Manchester Evening News:

“Valencia want at least €13m for Cogalan and do not want to let him go,” he told Beyaz TV.

“We’re in no hurry because Ferhat is in contract with Valencia until 2021. But when a club like Manchester United invites us, it is logical that we study the proposal, right?”

$14 million might seem a bit nuts for a kid that age, but maybe that’s the new norm when you consider that Anthony Martial cost $55 million at age 19.

Rumor: USMNT’s Guzan sought by Premier League newboys Middlesbrough

SEATTLE, WA - JUNE 16:  Goalkeeper Brad Guzan #1 (L) of the United States is congratulated by John Brooks #6 after blocking a shot against Ecuador during the 2016 Quarterfinal - Copa America Centenario match at CenturyLink Field on June 16, 2016 in Seattle, Washington.  (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
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Could Brad Guzan be in for another battle with relegation?

The Aston Villa goalkeeper, often left for dead by his teammates during a brutal Premier League relegation campaign, had been tipped for a return to Major League Soccer by many.

[ MORE: Harrison a USMNT option ]

Yet it tooks like there’s interest in the Premier League, as Northeast side Middlesbrough might like to see the USMNT man, 31, between the sticks.

From the Daily Mail:

The Premier League newboys are looking to bring in two keepers this summer and have discussed the likes of Victor Valdes and Aston Villa’s Brad Guzan.

Dimitrios Konstantopoulos was Middlesbrough’s regular starter in last season’s run through the Championship. He’s been with the club since 2013, and was capped once by Greece in 2011.

Guzan made 171 starts for Villa from 2008 through this season, and has 50 caps for his country.